In Japanese Steel: Classic Bicycle Design from Japan, author William Bevington takes a look at Japanese bicycles and the role they played in bicycle design. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Japan was known for producing bicycles that were in the forefront of both competitive and recreational cycling. Manufacturers like Fuji, Miyata, Panasonic, and Bridgestone all contributed to this movement, creating bicycles that are still recognizable today. But it wasn’t just major manufacturers that participated. Local artisans also created their own works of art. Builders like 3-Rensho and Nagasawa dominated the scene, and their works still have lasting influence today.
Bevington’s book takes a look at the range of bicycles created in Japan, from the top-flight racing cycles to the collectible custom fixed-gear frames. The book is replete with over 300 specially commissioned photographs of restored bikes as well as original technical drawings, period art, and other rare ephemera. Each entry also features information from technical manuals. Included as well are photographs of the legendary Keirin racing circuits.
Japanese Steel explores a golden era that was kicked off by the 1964 Olympics and came to be known as the great export years. Cycling fans and collectors will need to add this book as an important part of their libraries.